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Apple’s new A9 and A9X processors promise ‘desktop-class performance’

Apple’s new A9 and A9X processors promise ‘desktop-class performance’


The A9X is 1.8x faster than the chip in the iPad Air 2

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Apple has unveiled its biggest iPad yet, the iPad Pro, and with it, a new chip: the A9X. The third-generation 64-bit processor offers double the memory bandwidth and storage performance of the old A8X, and Apple's Phil Schiller promises that the new chip offers "desktop-class performance." Apple tends to say this every year, but that's not to say the A9X isn't a substantial step up from the A8X.

Read next: The iPad Pro review.

"It is faster than 80 percent of the portable PCs that shipped in the last 12 months," says Schiller. "In graphics tasks it's faster than 90 percent of them." Apple is pushing the idea that the 12.9-inch iPad will enable all sorts of new use-cases for Apple tablets, showing off AutoCAD software running on the device with "buttery 60fps smoothness" and a 3D medical app. Hopefully, this smoothness will translate into a better gaming experience as well.

Apple also unveiled the new A9 chip for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, with new transistor architecture which the company says is optimized for real-time use. The A9 CPU is 70 percent faster than the A8 ("desktop class," says Apple, again), while the GPU is 90 percent faster. The company showed off new games to test the GPU's limits, and while they weren't "console class" (as Apple claims for no good reason), they were impressive for a smartphone.

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